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White Stripes Documentary Opens to 700 Person Army

By A. Minnick and M. Graupmann
|  Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010  |  Updated 2:54 PM CDT
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10 Bands Not To Miss at SXSW

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As expected, the opening night of SXSW meant a huge line outside of the historic Paramount Theater in downtown Austin.

The feature for the evening was the documentary “The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights,” the behind-the-scenes look at the iconic band as they made their first concert tour of Canada in 2007.

Instead of hitting only the metropolitan areas of Canada, the band decided to go to at least one city in every territory in the country. For a geographical reference, think of the area east of Alaska. Towns like Yellowknife with a population less than 20,000 were the tour's focus.

Before their shows in the evening, the band would do impromptu mini-concerts somewhere in the city during the day. This might be in the town square, a restaurant, a loading dock, wherever they could fit an audience.

Band members Jack and Meg White also took time to interact with officials and regular townspeople, learning the customs and everyday lives of the region.

Director Emmett Malloy skillfully captures the rockers out of their big-stadium element, showing a different side to their oft-publicized relationship drama.

The music and concert footage is beautifully and intricately shot. The movie captures the power, passion and talent of this musical duo. The mark of a good concert is leaving the audience wanting more, and the filmmakers accomplished this goal triumphantly.

Malloy said in the Q & A after the screening that he has known this band for many years but still doesn’t really quite “know them.” His documentary leaves us wanting to know more about the music and personalities of The White Stripes .

The DVD and live album go on sale March 16th. A box set is ready for release including the documentary, a DVD of the band's 10th anniversary show, a 16-track live album CD, a live 7" single featuring "Icky Thump" on one side and "The Wheels On The Bus" on the other, a 208-page hardcover book of photographs from the tour and a silkscreen print.

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